The menu at Tasty Thai & Pho organizes the restaurant's colorful creations into two categories: Thai and Vietnamese. Nearly 10 rice plates populate the Vietnamese portion, including com dac biet, a meaty mixture of grilled shrimp, shredded pork, Vietnamese meatloaf, and fried egg. The options get a bit spicy on the Thai side with Thai-style curries, though diners can scale back the heat by packing their cheeks with frozen peas or by ordering dishes such as the swimming rama peanut sauce. In that, they'll find their choice of meat—chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or tofu—pan-fried with garlic and coated in a rich peanut sauce. As an added bonus, Tasty Thai & Pho shows gratitude to visitors who dine-in by including a house dessert with each entree.
Formed from about 17,000 islands that stretch from the coast of Thailand to the border of Papua New Guinea, the nation of Indonesia encompasses many climates and cultures. Recognizing that diversity, Indo Cafe's chefs strive to serve up an authentic sampling of the country's eclectic cuisine. The smartly curated menu ranges from daging tuturuga?a curry beef stew from Manado, on the northern island of Sulawesi?to bakmi goreng jawa?a Javanese-style egg-noodle stir-fry. If you're stopping by for the first time or have had your memory wiped since the last time, Seattle Weekly's 2012 Voracious Dining Guide recommends the ayam goreng fried chicken, a pan-Indonesian specialty which Seattle Weekly calls "extra-crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and best topped with fiery chili paste and paired with cooling, slightly sweet coconut rice." Indonesian produce stars in the desserts; the chefs fill whole coconuts with their savory-sweet pudding and make their own avocado- and durian-flavored ice creams.
Framed Indonesian art accents Indo Cafe's main dining space as well as three private rooms that can each host a party of up to 30 people or two giants on a romantic dinner date. Strengthening the restaurant's international ties, its owners are also active supporters of the Children's Foundation of Southeast Asia, which rallies local business owners to help build children's homes and schools in Southeast Asia.
Mai Thaiku, a relocated and reimaged incarnation of the now-closed Thaiku, boasts a new menu centered around the authentic Thai cuisine that Chef Anne Sawvalak grew up eating. This includes fresh salads built from green mango, wok-fried noodles with Chinese sausage or sliced pork, and curries simmered with fresh Thai basil or lime and cilantro. But fans of the old menu need not mourn: while The Seattle Times raved about the charred baby squid skewers, they also lauded the kitchen's willingness to prepare old Thaiku dishes when possible. To help toast favorites old and new, the restaurant also offers a cocktail list that infuses classic drinks with exotic ingredients. The potent concoctions include a martini made with black tea-infused vodka and an old fashioned made with the aphrodisiac yoshimbe, which is limited to one per customer or tired cupid.
Where to Sit: May’s 100-year-old teak house, brought over from Thailand and lovingly reassembled, features a formal upstairs dining area. The romantic space showcases imported redwood furniture and a picture of the Thai royal family. Downstairs, you’ll find a more casual lounge space that’s no less regal, dotted with Thai decor and red and gold accents.
When to Go: May rolls out a truncated lunch menu, but the kitchen serves the full dinner menu well past midnight—the lounge itself closes at 2 a.m. each night.
While You’re Waiting
Galangal root: resembling ginger in appearance and flavor, though with a much stronger taste.
Tom yum: a hot-and-sour soup typically starring shrimp. Seasonings include lemongrass, kaffir lime, fish sauce, and chilies.
The Vibe: With its jazz soundtrack and spacious, warm-hued dining room, Jhanjay revels in a cozy blend of casualness and sophistication. High ceilings, exposed brick, and rustic wood encircle the tables.
Where to Sit: Grab a spot by the open kitchen, which encourages visual eavesdropping as the meals are made.
Inside Tip: Most of the dishes on the menu can be made vegan upon request.
Jhanjay: the Thai word for "vegetarian dishes"
While You’re in the Neighborhood: Before dinner, take a class at Seattle Mosaic Arts (1325 N. 46th Street), a welcoming community design space.
Broth, noodles, and meats can converge to form many dishes, but with appropriate herbs and spices, they yield the unmistakable flavors of Vietnamese pho. At Asian Pho, diners can begin their meal with pan-Asian appetizers such as gyoza or spring rolls before digging into small or large bowls of pho. The pho features tender meats, seafood, or veggies embedded in noodles and broth, like a deli built on a foundation of Top Ramen.